Two Smugglers Arrested in Colombia with $80,000 in Their Stomachs

By Dialogo
September 18, 2012

A Colombian and a Venezuelan were busted with $40,000 hidden in each of their stomachs while trying to enter Colombia on flights from Costa Rica. This money laundering method has never been detected in the country, informed immigration officials on September 14.

“Until now, we have only detected several cases of drug ingestion aimed at leaving the country,” Wilson Patiño, regional director of Immigration Services at the Antioquia Department (province) explained to AFP.

Last week, both heavy-built men, ages 35 and 40, were detained separately during security checks performed at the Medellin International Airport, in the capital city of Antioquia.

The Venezuelan national was detained on September 13, when immigration agents detected an unusual nervousness when they asked him about the purpose of his trip, said the Colombian Immigration Department in a statement.

After a body scan, “we were able to detect the presence of foreign objects in his abdomen, to which the traveler acknowledged that he had swallowed 40 capsules with ten 100-dollar bills each,” according to the document.

The Colombian national was arrested on September 16, also with $40,000 dollars hidden in his stomach and detected with the same technique.

“Apparently, this action is perpetrated by a money laundering organization already established, since the same modus operandi was used in both instances, as well as the same route: from Tegucigalpa to San José, and from there to Medellin, where they deliver the money and leave,” Patiño described.

It is strongly suspected that the money comes from drug trafficking, although it is possible that it came from other illegal activities, such as human or weapon trafficking.